Iceland has long been known as the land of fire and ice due to its glaciers and volcanic hot springs. This small picturesque island situated between two continental plates draws increasingly high numbers of visitors each year. It’s a land that calls to your inner explorer and National Geographic photographer, while being accessible to the average tourist.
There are enough things to see and do to keep anyone busy for a month, and every experience is totally different depending on the season you visit. If that’s not enough, its possible to experience all different seasons of weather in one day. Be prepared and dress in layers. The people that have the best experiences are the ones who dress appropriately for the weather.
Grab your camera and puffy coat and get ready to have the time of your life.
1. Go Chasing Waterfalls
Iceland is known for their stunning waterfalls through the country. Each one is a thing of beauty, towering many stories with swirling mist an rainbows. Going in the winter? They freeze and somehow become more stunning.
2. Glacier Lagoon (Jokulsarlon)
Located in the Southeast, it is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in Iceland (and certainly my favorite). It sits at the foot of one of the largest glaciers in Europe. It takes an effort to get there, but it is more than worth it. Make sure you take one of the boat trips offered. You can go on the lagoon watching the seals play in the water while motoring past the icebergs straight out of a scene from Titanic.
3. Diamond Beach
Diamond Beach is essentially across the street from the Glacier Lagoon, which makes sense because they are connected. Large chunks of ice break off the glacier and float through the lake into the open ocean and occasionally washing up on the black sand beach like glittering diamonds. Some chunks are large enough to surf on. Make sure you are wearing water proof shoes.
4. Blue Lagoon
Arguably the most famous (and the most instagrammed) attraction in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. It’s located about 15 minutes from the International Airport and tourists come her by the bus load making it the most crowded. The lagoon itself is a man made hot springs containing silicate which gives the water that stunning blue color. The main lagoon area is large enough for everyone to spread out and enjoy the experience. (I promise you will!) If you have the money, book The Retreat experience. A private posh changing room, a swim up bar, private cafe, private section of the lagoon and the retreat body scrub/ mask experience. Follow it up with a two hour in water treatment and you will be in bliss.
Located on the Golden Circle, there exists an active Geysir that hurls boiling water high up in the air every few minutes to the delight of visitors. It’s an easy stroll from the parking lot to the eruption zone, and have your camera ready. If you are using an IPhone, use it on burst for the best shots.
6. Vik Black Sand Beaches (Reynisfjara)
Vik is the southernmost town in Iceland and features a beautiful, if treacherous, black sand beach with basalt columns, fierce waves and hidden caves. Wear your waterproof shoes and be extra careful of the waves.
7. Meeting of the Continental Plates
Located at Thingvellir National Park, the North American and the European Continental plates converge here. You can actually walk between both plates. It’s an incredible experience and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Abandoned Plane Wreck (Solheimasandur)
Located in the South of Iceland is the wreckage of a World War II cargo plane. It’s located on a beautiful black sand beach on private land. Beware, its a hike, about four kilometers each way and not lit, however the path is quite flat and marked. Don’t start it too late in the day otherwise it will be too dark when you are returning.
9. Dive the Silfra Fissure
The silfra fissure is a body of freshwater located between the two continental plates. It is fresh off the glacier and is some of the coldest and clearest water on Earth. You will have to dive in a dry suit and must be PADI certified.
10. Fridheimar Greenhouse
This may not be breaking news to anyone but its really cold in Iceland much of the year, and the growing season is short. Therefore, fruits and vegetables are hard to come by. Fridheimar is a huge tomato greenhouse, restaurant and bar. The food and drinks are amazing and everything is tomato based- tomato schnapps, tomato ice cream, and of course, tomato soup.
Iceland is an amazing place full of amazing people and adventures. Tag me in your pics. Here are some other articles to check out.